How to Join In on Twitter Trends - dummies

By Kyle Lacy

Twitter trends are the most talked-about topics on Twitter. If you want to get in on a conversation about a local, national, or even global topic, you need to find out who’s talking about what. You can use Twitter trends to see what is popular on Twitter. If you can create enough sensation around a specific topic (marketing your service), you can gain a lot of recognition.

For example, say a well-known computer operating system provider, Tangerine, releases a new version, 2009, that causes printers to quit working. You’re a computer repair specialist (your Twitter username is @PittsburghComputers) looking for a way to boost your business. You can use Twitter trends to find the problem, fix it for several people, and boost your own business as well, by following these steps:

  1. Do a quick search for Twitter trends by using Twitter’s search feature.

    You start to notice that people are complaining about the same problem related to the operating system update. For example, say your search brings up tweets such as the following:

    kristiekreation: I just installed the #Tangerine09 upgrade, and my printer quit working!

    aballstudio: The #Tangerine09 update broke my printer.

    douglaskarr: Does anyone know why the #Tangerine09 update would make my printer stop printing?

    You happen to know the fix consists of a quick patch that Tangerine has already released, followed by a reset of the printer preferences.

  2. Write a blog post about the fix, giving step-by-step instructions, complete with screen shots.

    In your blog post, be sure to include a call to action, like “If you need additional repair work, virus protection, or hardware updates, don’t hesitate to contact us,” with the words “contact us” linked to your Web site’s Contact Us form or to your e-mail address.

  3. Tweet about your blog post and include a shortened URL link to that post.

    For example, you might tweet

    PittsburghComputers: There is a simple patch and fix to the #Tangerine09 update on my blog:

  4. Monitor the trend you start by using TweetDeck’s Saved Search feature, Twitter’s search, or Twitterfall, and respond to every tweet that mentions your keywords.

    Before you know it, you’re getting 100 tweets every two minutes from people all around the country who have problems with the Tangerine update. That’s way more than you expected. Most of these people don’t live in Pittsburgh, so they’re not likely to become your customers. And although you want to help everyone, you need to focus on making money.

    Because you’re a local business, you need to spend most of your time trying to follow your fellow Pittsburghers or, at least, create a group or a saved search on your favorite Twitter application.

  5. Jump over to Nearby Tweets, which lets you search for people who live in a specific geographic area and who are talking about a certain topic.

    Look for people in a 20-mile radius around Pittsburgh who are talking about the #Tangerine09 update issue.

    You may want to respond to all of those people, whether they’re following you or not. However, after a few minutes, you find yourself sending the link to your blog post that describes the fix over and over.

    Although it seems like you’re helping a lot of people, those folks who are unaffected by the Tangerine 2009 issue look at you like a spammer. So, don’t retweet the same content more than once.

  6. Follow all the people who result from the Nearby Tweets search, and see whether they follow you back. If they do, send them a direct message with the details about the post on your blog.

    Avoid the temptation of sending out a link to your blog post as an auto-DM (automatic direct message). Although the idea may seem like a big timesaver, what if you forget to turn it off? Or what if a group of people follow you, but they aren’t following you because of this article?

  7. Track how many times your link gets clicked, and monitor how many times it gets retweeted.

    To keep tabs on your links, you can use a service called Retweetist.

If you gain a customer based on marketing through Twitter, be sure to ask him or her how he or she heard about you. If the customer heard about you on Twitter, keep track of this information: Tally all the additional income that resulted from that tweet.